By Gbenga Olarinoye

Former Head of state , General Yakubu Gowon (retd), yesterday, took a retrospective look at the situation in the country and asked President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the country’s economy regain its strength to alleviate the suffering of the masses.

Gowon spoke at Ile-Ife at a programme, Health Caravan and Award ceremony for the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, who was conferred with the Royal Ambassador for Hepatitis Advocacy in Nigeria by the Seham Health Care Foundation as part of activities to commemorate the 2016 World Hepatitis Day. 

Fielding questions from newsmen shortly after the award ceremony, Gowon urged Nigerians to cooperate with the government, saying that the Federal Government was doing everything within its reach to resolve the economic challenges facing the nation. On solution to Nigeria’s economic challenges, Gowon said, “ Let the current authority find a way out of the current economic crisis. The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has been telling us what they have been doing to get the economy strong again. 

She said all will be well by September. Let’s wait till then. “I have left government for a long time, so I may not really  know what the problem is. The current administration should do whatever they can to solve to economic challenges. They should find a way to restore confidence in the citizens and the nation at large by fixing the economy.” 

On the controversial budget padding which resurfaced, the elder statesman wondered why the issue of budget padding became the order of the day in Nigeria, saying such never occurred during his administration. He, however, urged government not to allow anyone found guilty of budget padding to go scot free to serve as deterrent to others. His words: “ If that is true. If anybody is doing that, the person should be checked and stopped to ensure that such does not occur in the future. “We didn’t do it during my time. We had Chief Obafemi Awolowo in-charge of our finance and he taught us to survive without borrowing. 

Such (budget padding) should stop, there is no point doing that”, he added. Receiving the  award, the Ooni urged Nigerians to ensure that they support the less privileged in their domain. He expressed delight at being awarded and called on Nigerians to cultivate the habit of celebrating good leaders. On her part, the Executive Secretary of Seham, Princess Adepeju Hameed, explained that since the formation of the foundation, the rate of Hepatitis has reduced in Nigeria. She noted that the Ooni was awarded to deepen the awareness about the disease and its control.



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